Animal Track Identification

Identifying Animal Footprints and Paw Prints


Animal tracks and footprints can tell you what animals are roaming around your backyard or eating your garden vegetables. See our animal track pictures to learn how to identify animal tracks and track animals!

You don’t have to be in the jungle or deep forest to be an animal tracker. Tracks are often as close as your backyard or garden.

How to Track Animals and Identify Animal Tracks

Tracking is something that you learn by doing. Get out there and look! Here are a few tips:

  • Animal tracks are easiest to find in mud, soft garden soil, sand, and snow.
  • Study the ground closely. Get down on your hands and knees. Note the size of the track and whether it shows claw marks. You may wish to make a sketch.
  • Track early in the morning or late in the day when shadows make prints easier to see.
  • Watch for animal droppings called scat. The scat will also help you track the animal. If it’s dry all the way through, the tracks may have been left a while ago. Scat can also tell you if you’re tracking a vegetarian or a meat eater.
  • If you lose the trail, search in a circle around the track until you pick up the trail again.
  • The most important tip of all: don’t get lost!

animal tracks

Do you have animal tracks in your garden? See how to control these common critters: deermicemolesrabbitsraccoonsskunkssquirrelsvoles, and woodchucks or groundhogs

Have you seen any animal tracks in your backyard lately? Tell us about it below!

Reader Comments

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Please help identify

Looked out my son's bedroom this afternoon and saw single set of tracks widespread and large. Looks like two toes and a pad spread a couple of feet apart. How can i attach photos?


Looking out my window and the prints I’ve never seen before has me very puzzled. They almost resemble a large dogs print but only two toes. They’re spread a pretty distance as well! I’ve been in Kenosha, WI all my life and have never seen this.. thanks for the help


I'm seeing the same thing n they r huge! Look like alien feet

More new different tracks

From Southbury CT On Jan 01 2018 Discovered prints, larger than size of closed fist, single track, apprx. 2-3 feet apart, no apparent claws/toes, no feces trail left behind in yard. Thanks for any leads.

Prints in Snow

Any updates to the 12/14/17 prints I’m the snow? Will editors post the pics for others to look at?

large perfect circle prints in the snow

I looked out my door this morning and in the snow were a path of large perfect circles, almost the size of a saucer. No paw prints, just perfect circles. I never saw anything like this in all my years. The center of the circles were bare of snow, maybe whatever left the circles was heavy and the center melted the snow. The circles in the snow were all the same distance apart but not far apart at all. They looked like smoke rings. I live in New Jersey near a river

Paw prints in snow

Found large paw prints in snow yesterday on back deck in south jersey, tried to research on line but can't seem to find a match. Have 2 clear pictures, is there a way to send them in for possible ID, thanks

paw print ID

Hi, Sue. We received your photos via and will see if we can help you to identify the animal who made them. Thank you!

Devil Dogs

I've seen three strange creatures run past me in the night, hyena-like and tail-less, this was in eastern PA in the mid 90's. Not sure what their prints would be like, but they are out there!

western PA

western PA sorry, 30 minutes from Pittsburgh

noisy critters under house in insulation

I crawled under the house and found nothing but many tracks bigger than a nickel smaller than a quarter. They had tear shaped middle and six straight lines radiating but not attached to the tear. They are crawling along under the rooms in my modular home driving me nuts. I sprinkled diatomaceous earth on possible entries after stuffing easy to move crunched news paper. Any ideas what it/they may be and how I can rid myself.

animal tracks

Unfortunately, even with these details, it is hard to know what animal has taken up residence under you home. I don’t know of any that have 6 toes, but it could be that the track is such that the back foot has landed in the same place as the front foot, as happens sometimes with certain animals and gaits. Animals about that size could be in the mink/weasel family, certain skunks, squirrel/gopher and other larger rodents. The options also depend on where you live. Do any claws show in the tracks? If they are causing damage to your home, you might want to call in an animal pest expert to help you identify it and discuss options. Control depends somewhat on the type of animal, and whether you can block any access areas once you have drawn the animals away from your home. You might check our animal pest pages, such as the following, for a few tips on repelling them:

Hope this helps!

Possible cougar tracks

Hi, I found a single track and I believe it to be a cougar track, but I would like some confirmation. I live in central Kentucky, also I took a picture, so here's the dropbox link. https(colon)//www(dot)dropbox(dot)com/s/kux5mrm8kdius49/WP_20170829_001(dot)jpg?dl=0


How is it that you can view the pics of the tracks?

Possible Fox in my House?

ok so earlier tonight I found a track of muddy paw prints in my house walking from my back door through my kitchen that then stopped at the top of the stairs to the basement (the stairs are carpet so I couldn't see the tracks anymore) They are much smaller than the paws of my dog but still bigger than any racoon tracks i've ever seen. They are in a straight line and somewhat spaced out by looking at your options and doing some research of my own I think they may be fox prints. I live on the lake in rural ontario i have an empty lot next to my house and I left the door open almost all day. Is it possible that there is still a fox trapped in my house? the prints don't lead back to the door or even out of the basement. did it maybe wipe its feet on the carpet and leave without tracks?


Hi, Chloe: This is a tough one. A healthy fox is not going to be snooping in a house, generally. This sounds more like a house cat. Are there any around? And yes, it sounds entirely possible that whatever it was got onto the stairs carpet and “wiped” its feet by walking. Keep that door closed and you’ll find out soon enough, if you haven’t already. And check around your basement for any openings. Thanks for asking, and good luck!


I have had a pack of wolves through my property that a neighbour helped me to identify. He demonstrated to me the way they travel at times in single file to conceal their numbers. He estimated at least 4 were through the property. I’ve never seen one in person as they are extremely covert when humans are present. I set trail cams up at one point in hopes of catching them but was told that because I had gone back there nonchalantly, they would have smelled my scent and avoided the area in the future.


Would have been informative to people in areas with wild hogs to include their prints

Tracks from Pennsylvania in my Aunts garden

There is a debate about what left these tracks in my hands garden. I say deer elk. A lot of people are trying to say coyote or bear, but I don't believe looks anything close to a coyote or bear. It looks like a running elks tracks in the pic that looks like a print with 3 claws, I think because don't the front and back tracks overlap when they run? What do you think?

Strange paw prints?

So I live in southern Ontario in an urban area in front of a pond. Last night I saw out my window weird looking tracks in front of my house and running up the driveway. At first glance they looked like it would be from a stray cat or something of the sort, until I noticed that they were very close together in one row. I was thinking about an animal that could walk on it's hind legs, but I don't think that there are many animals around this area that would be similar to a cat and be able to walk on hind legs for that long of a distance. I don't have much experience with identifying prints, but I've never seen anything like that from the typical animals that we get running around my house. We do have cameras, and I'm planning to check what that could've been. I have a feeling that this isn't anything special and I'm just too used to rabbits and raccoons, but I'm really stumped at the moment. Thanks for any help :)

animal tracks

Hmm. It’s hard to know without seeing a picture. I’m guessing these prints are about the size and look of a domestic cat? If so, it sounds like they are in direct register, which means they look like they follow in one line, but actually what is happening is that the rear print is falling directly on top of the front paw print. The cat family tends to do this, but also the fox (not other canines when walking). Close together in a line might suggest a slower pace, a walker. So, I’m wondering if it might either be a fox, domestic/stray/feral cat, or bobcat? Cat prints usually do not show claws, where fox and other canines usually do. Both the fox and the domestic/stray/feral cat show four toes on both hind and front paw prints, and all toes are equal size. You might check the Web for photos of each of these prints to see if they look similar to what you saw. Good luck!

Possible Cougar Prints

I live in southeast ontario, canada, in a rural area between kingston and toronto. I found cat-like tracks last night in the snow that i can fit my entire fist into, with room to spare (my fist is 3 1/4 " x 3" ). There are no claw marks, andfound new prints again at 7am, and again at 12pm and then again 11pm, all across our yard (1 1/4 acres) from 2 feet off our deck out onto the road and into fuekd behind house. Roughly 2 feet between steps and hind leg almost perfectly steos into front track everytime I am a farm kid but not a hunter so not great knowledge of tracks. Found scat that looks identical to cougar scat pics. I have pics n will b taking more in the mornig. Looking for help identifying.

paw prints on my front patio

Just moved to Fort Erie from Bowmanville end of August 2016 and it's not like living in St. Catharines where I grew up. I see coyotes and deer and foxes. An animal waddled across my newly poured concrete patio (saw from behind, may have been a racoon), and left prints in the wet cement (looking like a racoon's). Now I have prints of an animal which is coming across the front of my house, perhaps from the bird feeder, and bending down under a downspout and walking across my patio leaving muddy footprints all the time. I measured them as about 2 1/2 x 3.5 or 4. Could this be a coyote?

Tracks with 4 pads only

Recently it's snowed here in NC. And we have been seeing strange tracks around my grandparents house. My dad was over there today and these tracks with only 4 pads have been all around her house and up on her porch. What kinda of animal leaves tracks with only 4 pads?

Track with four paws

Michael, did you ever find out what was making the tracks you described? I have something similar here in the draw behind our house. It is a large track, approximately 5 inches across. But it only has four pads. There are no toes or claw marks. If you did hear anything about what may have made the tracks you saw, I would appreciate it if you would post it. Thanks.

Gray Wolf Tracks with elongated phalanges? Better try again.

Why hasn't anyone said this before me about the picture of the Gray Wolf Tracks being wrong. I don't know what animal it is that leaves that track, but wolves don't have phalanges like that drawing is showing. Someone flubbed up when putting the tracks of a Gray Wolf in. Go to this website/web-page to see what wolf tracks look like (the Gray Wolf in particular)... www (dot)
bear-tracker (dot) com (forward slash) wolves (dot) html

gray wolf tracks

You are correct in that a gray wolf track usually shows 4 toes, with claws, and then a sort of triangular heel pad. Although the illustration is confusing, I believe that what it is showing is basically a direct register pattern, where back paw prints overlap the front paw prints; you are seeing 2 prints in that one space, so it looks a little odd. Wolves can trot or walk in this pattern, as well as a side trot, or other form.

Tracks in yard

The tracks are one,two,three in a line with space of about a foot and a half,' then the three steps, and another foot and a half, etc., all across the yard. Each footprint is about 6 inches long in the snow. Almost like a human print but who walks three steps space - three steps space etc.

Large cat prints...?

I found prints 20' from my house. They're about 3"W x 4.5L. There is a set of tracks where the spacing is 10' from foot to foot.
I live in rural Newtown, CT.
I have pictures.

I want to identify tracks in the snow

I live at 2k feet and we had a light snowfall last night. There are strange tracks perfectly rectangular approximately 2"x6-8" long. Any idea what would make these? I can send a photo. I cannot find anywhere in the field guides on line

WE'VE GOT TRACKS.....3 toes and a pad

I live in the Sierra Foothills of California. There are a number of ranches and around us. My daughter and I were walking down the hill from our barn and noticed an injured Buck (approx.6~7points), his ankle or leg was broken. As I looked down in the soft dirt (it's rained for 4 days) I noticed some tracks that I couldn't recognize. They look similar to a "dog's" but not quite. They are the size of a woman's thumb (toes) and there are 3 (middle with one on either side) and a large oval shaped pad (50 cent piece). We have had trouble with Bobcats in the area, and Wildlife, Fish and Game have had to catch and destroy 2 Bobcats on the other side of town (this is due to the fires we had and their prey (deer) have moved so they are following). But, I thought a Bobcat would leave tracks like a cat? No claws present? These toes looked as though they came to a point? I suppose it could be a claw tip. My concern is the Bobcat in are 2-3 mile area has been seen in daytime, in the backyard by 4 people. He has no problem coming out. I didn't think Bobcats would attack an animal as large as this Buck was? Could a Bobcat go after horses (1200~1500 lbs.)?Should we be worried? Please help us.

track ID

I don’t know of a 3-toe track that fits that description (birds show as 3 toes; deer 2 toes); Sometimes one toe does not show on a track, depending on how the animal was moving. Bobcats usually leave prints that show 4 toes and a pad, about 2 or so inches long, often no claws showing. A bobcat would not attack a horse unless the feline was rabid. Bobcats have been known on occasion to attack an adult deer, and more likely fawns, especially if injured or sick, but they are not the norm in their diet. If you are concerned about a wild animal in your area, you might speak with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. They would be able to tell you likely predators in the area, and what precautions you can take. If you see the tracks again, take a photo, and measurements (width and length), as well as note the pattern of gait, and then bring them to a nature expert. Hope this helps!

animal tracks

pretty helpful. but wish it showed a Marten and a badger.:)

large paw print

I came across a 3 toe pad paw print that has me questioning what I'm looking at! 3 toes larger than a mans thumb and a foot pad that spreads the width of all three toes! Three claw marks that are at least a inch long and you can tell that it's heavy to sink 1/8 to a 1/4 inch down in the dirt! The overall size of the print is the size of a grapefruit if not bigger!

three toes

If you search for the keyword “three” or “3” on this page, you’ll find that you are not alone! Several people have written that they have seen puzzling 3-toed tracks that are larger than a tiny bird’s. We are truly stumped, unless there is a pet emu that has escaped in your area. Perhaps you can ask a naturalist or animal expert, such as someone at a nature or wildlife center, or zoo? Bring a photo to them, if you can, with a coin next to the print, for scale. Good luck!

what kiled my cats


Claw marks

We found 5 claw marks in the dirt covering up yellow, loose poop. The marks were about 3in wide...what type of animal could it be? Eastern KY

What kind of animal is this?

So I was walking down to my bus stop heading to school one early morning and I stopped to see very large balls of poop and there was this strange foot print like any I've seen before (I live in Georgia). It had three toes with claws and a thin heel. I've tried to figure out what it could have been from but I've found nothing... Struggles real.

3 toes

I found same thing today in central illinois. It is about the width of my 4 fingers together. Or my Samsung galaxy 5

odd footprints in snow

I woke this morning to find 3 inches of freshly fallen snow. I looked outside my bedroom window, and noticed strange animal prints in the snow. The animal walked from outside my bedroom window, across the backyard and off into the forest. (I live in the high desert in Arizona and am surrounded by pine trees within a dense forest full of wildlife.) The prints are 12 inches long. They have two large toes, a middle foot pad, and a bottom heel. Again, they are 12 inches long! Perhaps, it is actually 3 toed and a bottom heel pad. Maybe a big cat? Panthers have been seen nearby before. I have seen many large cat prints before though, and they are unmistakingly 3 toed, not two. I am sorry I can't download a pic. Any ideas?

unknown prints in my backyard

I found some unusual footprint sin my backyard and I can't figure out what they are. they are rather odd. help wanted.

One straight trail

Hi. I have seen these paw prints on the driveway going downstairs and this morning, going to the side of the house.
The trail is just one paw print after the other.
it would look like this ---> o o o o o o o o o
Not even a pair of paw prints, what is this?!

looks like cat prints.. They

looks like cat prints.. They single track like that....


We were on vacation in the canyon leading into Estes Park and had these tracks in the back yard the front paws had deer like fronts but had prongs or markers behind it the back paws were unidentifiable because it was pushed up dirt

Tons of elk roaming through

Tons of elk roaming through people's yards in Estes Park.

Needing some identification

Needing some identification on an animal track please. Arguing with bf about it. Thanks

I live in west Texas and I

I live in west Texas and I need to know what animal has 3 paw prints in the shape of a triangle. Can any one please help.

What are the size of the

What are the size of the prints? How far apart are they? When you say 3 paw prints, are they actual paws, or do you mean 3 toes?
Birds, such as wild turkeys, sometimes have 3-toed prints. You can find images of them on the Internet.
Sometimes animals will hop or run so that two of their paws land on top of each other, so that the tracks you'd see just 3 paw prints per set, but this wouldn't be throughout the whole pattern, usually.
For more advice, you might try contacting the Texas branch of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, or Texas Parks and Wildlife. Your local public library might also be able to obtain for you field guides to Texas wildlife, including tracks.
Good luck!

hello you are good at

you are good at painting huh you are excellent I wish you all the best please send me those tracking photos via email please I need them for serious use

Is it possible for a cougar

Is it possible for a cougar to have a print in the snow measuring 7" long and 4" wide? The prints look like images for cougar prints found on the internet. The prints were very distinct, as big as my hand and the stride taken was 6-7 feet between steps. These prints have been observed for two straight winters of 2014 and 2015 in areas where rabbits winter in Litchfield County, Conn. I and my fellow Mensa tracker enthusiasts are puzzled as cougar tracks are not supposed to be this big. Thank you for any feedback you can provide.

Leopard. Almost certain. Was

Leopard. Almost certain. Was it garbage day? Are there birds like chickens nearby? Small dogs in nearby yards. Sounds like leopard.

Check out the Animals Don't

Check out the Animals Don't Cover Their Tracks animal tracks ID group on Facebook. We offer help with identifying tracks you find.

Can't post the link. Here is the name to search for:

Animals Don't Cover Their Tracks: Animal Track Identification Help Group

Winchester, VA suburbs. I let

Winchester, VA suburbs.
I let my tom cat out this am in the snow. He wandered around a little then came back sooner than expected. This afternoon I went out for the mail. Something had followed his tracks up the driveway right up to the door. I am I thought fairly good, but these have me stumped. It seems to have 3 pads, with 3 claws. About twice the size of the cats prints. I am a little worried for the cat because winter on a trail in my woods I found a deer carcass where something had simply bit off a foreleg at the fight scene (kicked up leaves, the foreleg, and tufts of fur), then removed the skull at the consumption scene about 15 feet away by chewing through the spine. In the muddy leaves the day of discovery I also found a similar but less distinct track where something had sprung from ambush at the deer. Hopefully some of these images come through.

In the snow today

photo of print blocked as spam

Here is what I found in December 2013.

photo declared to be spam

With the leaves removed.

photo declared to be spam

What it left behind (the skeleton was wet, but more or less intact). Both the head and the pelvis are to the left. I do not recognize this consumption pattern. Normally things should be more scattered I think, so I am puzzled.

photo declared to be spam (why is photo bucket imagery marked as spam?)

Obviously due to the passage of time I can not say the same animal from 12/2013 left the snow prints today, but I note the similarity. Any information you can provide about the print at the kill, or the prints in the snow is appreciated. 3 pads with 3 claws. I am stumped. What am I dealing with here?

Came across these tracks in

Came across these tracks in fresh snow, they were round shaped, about 4" in diameter and are in a single line gate. The snow had started to melt so the print isn't as well defined as it probably was before the temperature rose. I followed them backwards and found this animal came up to this area via a steep hill from another trail. Can you tell me what it is? Hopefully this link to my instagram picture will work!

I am a big cat expert and

I am a big cat expert and research world wide. Without seeing a photo, I cannot give you a 100% certainty, but, from what is described, I am 90% sure it is leopard.

Ok y'all so please don't

Ok y'all so please don't think I'm nuts for the past year iv been workin on an off at a smaller isolated farm settlement we live in western NC an hour below ashville nc At first it was dogs getting muttilated and large lion size tracks being found on the property (not cougar) lion massive distinct lion tracks. A few months went by an no more of thous tracks where seen again only large 3 toed what we joked as being Bigfoot track until it got scarey last night the main house which 3 young children and there mother where asleep in was broke into by what ever is making these large 3 toe tracks an walked all around there house half way up the stairs an they disappear We checked the guest house an it's went in there as well muddys tracks all over an drapes an curtains ripped down kids toys squashed and we are stumped iv got a 12g an ar15 an 357mag we are goin to search as we speak I'd rather get this animal or beast alive but after last night and how crazy it is it was I the house we can't take any more chances I typed in the description of the tracks an this page is what came up seeing as there are others seen as well I don't feel compleatly crazy telling y'all this. If anyone has further info please help anything is greatly appropriated Ps they are jus like some have described 3 toes with claw like hooves very large in size but also more than one we have one print that looks to be an infant of the same sense but idk what it is or what to think it is jus need some pruff cuz everyone thinks we are goin crazy

I am scared now

Thanks for posting this. I heard something weird yesterday from outside and your post made me realize what it was. I have been seeing the same tracks in my woods. I sleep on the upper floor of my house next to a window on the front side of the house. Last night I woke up at 6 am and heard large footsteps in my yard (you can hear everything outside from my window. They slowly went to the front door. Then I heard a small bang as in something hitting the door. Then I heard noise downstairs. A few seconds later to my releif, I heard footsteps crashing up my yard. I'm scared now that I made a connection from your post

unknown animal

If you experience such an encounter again, you might try contacting your town/county’s wildlife experts or animal control service. Sometimes the local police can tell you whom to contact. There are those who investigate nuisance wild animals. If the authorities can identify the animal by its tracks and your description, they might be able to relieve your mind as to its habits and why it might be visiting your yard, and what you might be able to do to deter it from coming around. Most animals prefer to avoid humans under normal circumstances. However, if an animal, such as a bear, discovers a food source (such as a garbage can, garden produce, or bird seed) nearby, it may frequent your area until the food is gone. Check your area to make sure that there are no food/water sources near the house. In the meantime, should you find any tracks, take as much information about them, including time/date, size, photo of one print and of a series together, length between prints, whether the paw prints are side by side or alternate, description of the site where you saw the tracks (woods, swamp, field, suburban…), etc., to present to the authorities if needed.

It just started to snow here

It just started to snow here in Illinois and I'm seeing the three toed foot prints to!! It's so weird. They seem to match you all description exactly!! Wish I could post a pic

Today, Feb 23, 2015, I saw

Today, Feb 23, 2015, I saw single footprints, that most were 12" long, narrow, about 3" wide, but were spaced out by 7 feet. So, I was trying to figure out what had 7 foot strides. It was one after the other, 7 foot apart for about 50-60 feet. It started out of nowhere and ended suddenly, without a trace. Why would a rabbit be jumping like that for 50-60 feet. It was in my front yard, rural area, in Eastern Indiana and there was 3-4" of snow on the ground. So, Rabbit perhaps, but this was very strange.

Went to close uo my chicken

Went to close uo my chicken coop at dusk, 6" fresh snow on ground, single strides tracks about 10" long by 3" wide, 6-7 feet apart. What animal has a 6 foot stride? Tracks were not there an hour earlier, kinda bothersome in eastern Pa

Red tail hawk wings? Saw one

Red tail hawk wings? Saw one sitting on my neighbor's chicken coop the other day.

I found some track in

I found some track in Washington as I was walking around the fields but can not figure out what they are, I have a picture they are about 2 inches long with two pints in front and two in back, I have a picture but not sure how to upload it. But you can view it here.

Thanks for the help : )

It is hard to tell, as the

It is hard to tell, as the prints are not distinct enough to show how many toes in front and behind, etc. Or, is each section showing just one footprint, rather than a group of four?

If each section is showing four prints, then it looks like an animal with a bounding gait. Gray squirrel?

I'm not sure what the sharp points are--claws? But there are only two showing. It doesn't look like tail drag.

Here is a good site that might help you narrow the possibilities:

Good luck with the identification!

My son and I found similar

My son and I found similar large 3-toed footprints here in Virginia. There are what appears to be 2 two-legged creatures walking side by side between our house and the neighbor. We took photos on the phone. They have 3 sharp toes and a roundish heel and quite large. We just had our first snowfall. They appear to start from nowhere. I did hear a noise from the bushes in my yard but it was dark. I went out to clear off the satellite dish and called my son to get the phone thinking it might be a bear based on the size. I noticed though it appeared 2 legged and had long strides.

may I please see the

may I please see the pictures?? thank you,,


I live in CT. and just found

I live in CT. and just found the same kind of footprint in the snow. Did you find out what it was?

I live in Australia, in a

I live in Australia, in a rural city in Queensland. And I noticed tracks on the driver side door of my car, they don't appear anywhere else on my car, just on the driver door. They're three-pronged hand/foot prints, about 2 feet from the ground, I smudged a couple of the prints to check for scratches, and there were none. All of my friends are stumped as to what it could be, we thought it might have been a magpie, but they have claws and would have scratched the paint. I'm not sure how knowledgeable you are with Australian wildlife, but I couldn't find an Australian website like this :/

I do have pictures if that will help!

On the beach I found a line

On the beach I found a line of tracks that we are not sure what they are. One set was with nails and one set without. All sets were in-line and exhibited clearly as four toed. Tracks are about 5" long and 4" wide. Maybe around 8" to 12" from track to track at one point. At other points they are almost jumbled. This is wet sand and the indentation showed no indication of caving in. We know that there have been cougar in the area as cougars have been sighted in some of the residential areas. Our problem is the tracks were in-line or one in front of the side to side movement. Hopefully you can clear this up for us.

It's hard to tell without a

It's hard to tell without a photo, and not knowing what state/province you've seen this. The inline gait with 4 toes showing on both front and back paws and large print suggests a cat or dog family member, especially cougar, wolf, or large domestic dog. Cat family members usually do not have claws out (retractable), whereas prints of dog members almost always show their claws. Dog family tracks are usually more elongated (tall) than cat ones, which are fairly round. Some dog family animals have longer toes in the middle than the outside. Large dog prints can be about 4 inches tall, sometimes larger, wolves about 4.5 to 5 inches. Wolves - claw marks usually present, trot in straight line, the hind paw usually falls exactly on the print the front paw made (direct register); toes, rather than middle pad, are usually the dominant feature. Dog prints usually meander; hind paw tends to fall near but slight off from the print that the front paw made. Coyote/lynx/bobcat/fox prints are smaller. Bears usually show 5 toes with claws. Cougar tracks usually equally wide as tall, or wider; the middle pad is usually the dominant feature; the hind paw may or may not exactly step on front paw print (normal walking, usually not; stalking, walking on snow or mud, usually direct register); rarely shows claws, unless running or walking on slippery surface (which sand might be); trail mostly straight. If you think it might be a cougar, check the overall shape of the print--is it round (cat) or elongated (dog/wolf)? Can you draw an X between the middle two toes and middle pad (dog/wolf)?
The following is a good introduction on telling the difference between canine and feline tracks:
These may help you to identify the tracks further:
Good luck!

I live in Richmond VA. I keep

I live in Richmond VA. I keep finding tracks in the mulch around my flower beds. Because it is mulch, the shape of the tracks is not really defined. I finally measured the most recent one. The front(?) tracks were about 2-2 1/2" deep (it's on an incline, so it's hard to get exact measurements), the back tracks were about the same. The width between the tracks was approximately 18" and the length from the front to the back was about 36". A deer? I am trying to determine just how big this animal might be, and if I should be nervous about going out in my yard at night! I've stayed up watching for it, and of course, when I'm watching, nothing. Thank you for ANY light you can shed on this.

I need help, I have some

I need help, I have some Raccoon in my back yard. I don't know what to do.
All the fruit tree damage.


I was wondering if any one

I was wondering if any one could help me. I live in northeast ky and we own some untouched land which adjoins another farm that is large and untouched about 300acres total. Well we keep finding these tracks and we can't figure out what they may be. The tracks are only 3toes about 1 or 1/2 inch deep it has a I guess a stride length of about 3ft maybe a bit larger the track it's self is quite large as well. When we found the first set of tracks we thought possibly it could have been walked over twice causing it to look like three toes but we are finding the same set all over the land. Any one have any ideas what this could be? Curiosity is killing me! We see a lot of different critters around this area and there have been some reports here lately of cougars being spotted which have not been in this area in a long time. Some people are reporting grey wolves here in ky as well and some have been killed and tested the DNA to make sure they were the grey wolf and they are. We have not have wolves here in ages either we have a lot of coyotes but not the wolves.

We see a lot of deer here like any where else fox raccoons and bobcats but this is just got me puzzled people around here are seeing these tracks a lot and we have no clue what it could be. If you know or have any clues I would love to know. As I said we are finding more animal species here that have not been in this area in ages so it makes me wonder if there is some thing else new to our area. Thanks

We're stumped. A search

We're stumped. A search online yields a few other mentions of three-toed tracks in Kentucky, but no answers. Not seeing a photo makes it hard to know what classification of animal it might be (canine, feline, weasel, deer, pig, bird, etc.). Do you think it might be possible that it is one individual animal that was born with less (or more) toes that normal? Or, if the third "toe" is behind the other two, that it is a hopping animal and the toe behind are actually 2 paw prints that landed together? Usually, four or five toes around a central pad would show for most canine/feline mammals, or two or four impressions for hooved mammals. Birds, such as ruffed grouse, may show three "toes" radiating out from a central point (but grouse have a stride much smaller than 3 feet).
You might try taking a photo to a wildlife expert, such as a nearby state park or nature center. Show a closeup of one clear print, as well as one of the path and stride, and provide measurements of length/width of an individual print, as well as the stride length. Good luck with the ID!

i have pictures of the tracks

i have pictures of the tracks i reported a while back. how do i send them to the site for identification? will they still be my property and not be copied?

You may email the photos to

You may email the photos to As editors of the Almanac, we are not tracking experts, however, we are happy to take a look! If you email them, we will not share them.

three toed unknown

i live i Green County, KY we bought a farm about a year ago. We have seen three toed tracks a lot on our property. None of our neighbors know what they belong too. I figured maybe a coyote that lost a toe are was deformed until this spring the tracks are accompanied by a a small three toed companion like a very small juvenile. If anyone figures this out let us know. thanks

I, too, had a similar

I, too, had a similar experience with prints in my yard early in 2014 after our first good snowfall. I live in Southwestern Ohio. Batavia to be exact, which is due north of Northeastern Kentucky. Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of the prints in my yard! I sure wish I had, as I've not been able to identify the prints. Here goes my description. Each foot pad is about the size of an adult males palm, with 3 claws in front of the foot pad. The 3 claws were not splayed out, and not attached to the foot pad. The 3 claws were in front of the foot pad. The prints were several feet apart and in a straight line, which leads me to believe it's bipedal. I'm stumped and so is everyone who saw them. I've looked at many prints on the internet in hopes of identifying them, but 3 clawed prints are hard to come by. Emu prints clearly show the 3 toes are attached to the foot pad. What my family saw clearly has 3 claws, not toes. We have a fair amount of deer, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, rabbits, turkeys, etc. Nothing matches what we've seen. I can't get it out of my mind. We get a little scared at night outside, not knowing. Shoot, if it were a cryptid, such as a bigfoot, at least it's more human like. If you come up with any ideas, I'd be thrilled to hear them.

I live in South Carolina I've

I live in South Carolina I've been trying to find the same prints you have and no luck did you ever find out what they were?

I came across your comments

I came across your comments as I was looking to identify some strange tracks I found in our front yard back in Jan/Feb. They sound like the same type of tracks you saw and I live in Louisville KY. I'm going to see if i can upload them to this site.

If they are 3 long toes

If they are 3 long toes radiating out, it is probably a wild turkey.

I live in central ky. and

I live in central ky. and have been finding three toed tracks for some time. These tracks are about 7 inches long and 5 inches wide at the toes, the toes are about 3 inches long with LONG claws. The toes all curve inward and there is a pad about 2-3 inches wide at the very back of the track. Whatever this thing is it walks on 2 feet with 2-3 feet between tracks. It can jump or fly because tracks appear and vanish, with none to show where it came from or where it went. I have pictures of the tracks and plaster casts. I need to know what this thing is! Serious replies please. It is not a turkey !


I live in Batavia, Ohio, and

I live in Batavia, Ohio, and what you've described fits the description of what walked through my yard early in 2014! Exactly! What the heck is it? I'd like to know too.

Although we're still stumped

Although we're still stumped (see earlier response below), do you think it might be an escaped exotic animal, such as an emu or rhea? These are large flightless birds, sort of like ostriches, that leave 3-toed tracks. (Ostrich tracks are different.) You can find photos of emu tracks etc. online.


IT IS AN OSTRIGE... BIG FLIGHTLESS UGLY BIRD!! MYTH THEY STICK.THEIR HEADS IN THE SAND.... fact they have 3 toes would definatley have a huge stride... they are all legs.....

Was walking my 2 dogs in a

Was walking my 2 dogs in a large farmer's field and they went crazy trying to track these prints. Was hoping you could help identify them!
My dog Jersey is an 88 pound bulldog/boxer and the prints are bigger than hers. Thanks.

It's hard to know without a

It's hard to know without a few more clues, such as length and width of the tracks (and/or, the size of your dog's prints), and what state/province you found them. They do look like a raccoon's, which has back paws that can be 2 to 4 inches long; front paws are about 1.5 to 3 inches long; both front and back paws show five toes in a clear print. Claws may not be seen. Typical walking gait is to have a hind and front paw near each other; these sets of prints are usually about 10 to 18 inches apart. If the animal is galloping or loping, it will show as a different pattern.
Good luck with the ID!

Could it be Badger? I live in

Could it be Badger? I live in Ontario Canada in the Simcoe County region. Found a weasel head fully intact(but no body) very close to the prints. My dogs paws are 3 inches long by 2 inches wide and these tracks were bigger than that. Maybe 5 inches long by 3 inches wide. Went back to measure but unfortunately they were erased by the weather.

I live in jefferson co.

I live in jefferson co. pa.I'm a hunter and have seen all kinds of animal tracks, I have never seen these before.4 tracks 2.5 inch,2 in front,one in the middle,one in the back. can't pick out a print,It is to the woods,first three jumps are 6ft apart,the next 2 are 8ft apart In6ins of snow what can jump like that?It was not a deer. thanks-Ron

There are several animals

There are several animals that can jump that far. Are you saying that the track you saw is not a hoofed mammal (such as deer, elk, moose, etc.)? In that case, could it be of the cat or canine family? It is too bad you could not detect whether the print showed toes (and how many on front and back paws), or claws or no. Canines may show claws, whereas cats usually have their claws sheathed. Two "toes" are deer family; 4 toes, rabbits; 5 toes, weasel, beaver, river otter, etc.; 4 toes front and 5 behind, many rodents, such as squirrels, woodchucks . . . .
A coyote is said to be able to jump more than 13 or so feet. A red fox or bobcat, about 12 feet, such as in pursuit of rodents under the snow.
2.5 to 3.5 inches are the size of coyote paws. Bobcats are usually about 1.5 inches. Red fox can vary between about 1.75 and 2.5.
The track patterns for certain animals can change between galloping and walking. It could be that this animal was galloping, perhaps in pursuit of prey, or to escape a predator.
Wish we could be of more help! Good luck with the ID!



I have had foot prints in my

I have had foot prints in my yard every time it snows. There are 2 long toes infront, 1 in the back. The print is atleast 8 inches in total. The prints are like one-legged and are 4 to 7 feet apart. It has some weight because they are atleast an inch deep.

I have the same thing in my

I have the same thing in my backyard!! My husband and I are trying to figure it out.

Map Wild Turkey


Wild Turkey Range

Fast Facts

Average life span in the wild:
3 to 4 years
Body, 3.6 to 3.8 ft (1.1 to 1.2 m); wingspan, 4.1 to 4.8 ft (1.3 to 1.4 m)
5.5 to 18.8 lbs (2.5 to 10.8 kg)
Group name:
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

The turkey was Benjamin Franklin's choice for the United States's national bird. The noble fowl was a favored food of Native Americans. When Europeans arrived, they made it one of only two domestic birds native to the Americas—the Muscovy duck shares the distinction.

Yet by the early 20th century, wild turkeys no longer roamed over much of their traditional range. They had been wiped out by hunting and the disappearance of their favored woodland habitat.

Wild turkeys typically forage on forest floors, but can also be found in grasslands and swamps. They feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, and salamanders.

Wild turkey reintroduction programs began in the 1940s, and the birds were relocated to areas where populations had been decimated but woodlands were recovering. Such efforts worked so well that wild turkeys now live in areas where they may not have occurred when Europeans first reached the Americas. Today, flocks are also found in Hawaii, Europe, and New Zealand.

Only male turkeys display the ruffled feathers, fanlike tail, bare head, and bright beard commonly associated with these birds. They also gobble with a distinctive sound that can be heard a mile (a kilometer and a half) away.

Females lay 4 to 17 eggs, and feed their chicks after they hatch—but only for a few days. Young turkeys quickly learn to fend for themselves as part of mother/child flocks that can include dozens of animals. Males take no role in the care of young turkeys.

Domestic turkeys have white-tipped tails because they are the descendants of a Mexican subspecies that was taken to Europe for domestication in the early 16th century. The feature distinguishes them from most modern wild turkeys, though captive diet, lifestyle, and breeding have caused other physical discrepancies and can jump 7ft

Did you ever find out?

Hi Debbie, I see you asked this three years ago so I know I may not get an answer. But did you find out what it was? It just snowed where I live and I have the SAME exact prints in my back yard. I live in the middle of town so this is very strange to me. You are the only other person I found that has seen the same thing.

Hi, I was hoping you might


I was hoping you might help me identify a track. A link to the image is below. Any help is greatly appreciated!


Dear Josh, A good clue to

Dear Josh, A good clue to this track is that it is showing five toes, with perhaps a hint of claws. My best guess would be a member of the weasel family, with my first choice perhaps a wolverine, if you think the print is the right size. If the print is smaller, then my guess would be an American marten or mink. If you need further help, you might try asking a park ranger in the Washington area, or a nature center. They may be more familiar with the animals in your area, and what might be about in winter. All the best, Heidi S., OFA staff